in October of this year my wife and i are going to Ireland and England.We decided to rent a car and drive around.Which GPS is the best? I'll appreciate if you give me specifics as to brand,model,etc..Thanks!
We borrowed a TOM TOM 130, at least I think that was the model, last year from a very good friend. We used it for 3 weeks in England. I don't know if it was loaded with Ireland maps, however.
I've been using a Garmin Nuvi 370 GPS for travels both in North America and Europe, and so far it's worked well. Since purchasing the unit, I've updated both the North American and European Maps (the updates are a bit pricey). Unfortunately the Nuvi 370 is now discontinued, but I believe this has been replaced by the Nuvi 275T. Check Amazon or similar sites for current prices.
One of the reasons I chose a Garmin unit over some of the others was that I was told by someone fairly well versed in GPS technology that the Mapquest software used is excellent. Also, the unit I purchased "speaks", and since I travel on my own this allows me to focus on the road.
GPS units are definitely a good resource to have while travelling, but I've found that they're not infallible. On occasion they will provide incorrect directions, so the unit has to be reset and the destination re-entered. It's always a good idea to have a Michelin Map for backup!
We've had the Tom Tom 910 for a number of years (I believe there are newer versions now). This has worked extremely well for us - we've taken it to England and Sweden. It too has the voice that tells you which directions to take. On a couple of occasions, the directions were faulty because of new construction, but we were able to recover with a map.
Love the Garmin Nuvi 275T. Bought it several months in advance of a trip to France so I could get familiar with it. Pro's: Pocket-sized, updates quickly, has lifetime American traffic reports, extremely user-friendly, and includes one free map update.
Any of the Garmin GPS's that have a "7" in the second character have the European map included. You may be able to pick up an older model GPS on Ebay for a good price.
My wife and I borrowed a Tom Tom One to use in Ireland last year. We did have a problem getting the Ireland map to load onto the device, but other than that it was easy to use. I would recommend checking and rechecking that the maps you need are available on the device before you need to use it, no matter GPS you end up using.
I used the one that the rental car company provided and found it to be just fine. I would be hard pressed to buy one here, just to take there.
I have a TomTom 920 (mr Tom probably had a TomTom 930, the newer model). It comes with all European maps and works fine for me. The Garmins are generally highly rated. Anything with a second digit 7 (e.g. 370) comes with European maps.
For me, those are the only two brands I would consider for use both here and in Europe.
You see a lot of threads on here, where people recommend the Garmin *70 series (anything that ends in 70).
We got a Garmin 270 (older model) off CompUSA for $121.98 and it worked incredibly well for Ireland. had ever little dirt, and one lane road out in the middle of the boonies, that you could iagine. It was fantastic.
Downloading mpa updates with any not brand spanking new model is a pain, and takes a long time, but is fairly easy.
We just got the 270, as we already have a USA GPS. You can definitely get a nicer one if you want.
PS - Watch on Garmin - they only allow 1 free map update, so you have to choose, Europe or North America, and they charge you $69.99 to update the other map. =\
I've got some different opinions on the Garmin. We're just back from a vacation with my sister, and she had bought a Garmin about a month before the vacation (sorry, don't know which model, but it's new, if that helps). She and my brother-in-law took the lead in driving with their family with us in our car behind. I HATED the Garmin. I'm a map person and don't have trouble with navigating. My sister's never been able to read a map to save her life. They completely depended on the Garmin.
Let me tell you why I hated the Garmin -- according to my sister, they could only have it set to take the shortest route, most scenic route, or avoid major highways. There is currently construction on the N5 between Dublin and Galway. Once we got off on the detour, the Garmin had us taking some very small roads when there were larger, faster roads nearby. We ended up with a lovely scratch all the way down the side of our car thanks to one of those little roads.
So driving back to Dublin, my brother-in-law pulled out the maps to find roads that were larger and easier to navigate. All was going well until the dang Garmin told them to turn less than a mile from getting on a major highway. We ended up on a tiny (even by Irish standards, 2 cars couldn't pass each other) road and had to pull over to a farm because a 10-K race with 1600 (!) runners was coming the other way. I wanted to throw the Garmin in the big manure pile by the fence.
So get the GPS, try it out at home before you take it over there to work out the bugs. Take maps as backups and remember, just because the GPS tells you to turn down a tiny road, you don't have to! If you keep going, it will recalculate.
Maureen has raised some good points regarding GPS use.
The devices are good, but they're not perfect or infallible. Users shouldn't simply quit "thinking" and blindly follow the GPS. They sometimes go into "brain lock" and choose an entirely incorrect route (sometimes re-programming the destination solves the problem). Another complication is that the device may be programmed for a specific local name of a destination, which the GPS user may not know.
When driving in the Cotswolds one afternoon, my GPS unit instructed me to turn left onto a very narrow country road in the middle of a farmers field to get to Stow-on-the-Wold. The road sign at that point indicated that Stow was one mile via the road I was on. Of course, I ignored the GPS and followed the sign.
However, on another occasion it "saved the day". I was on my way to Bristol airport to catch a flight and came to a "Y" branch in the road. Unfortunately the traffic was extremely heavy and I couldn't get in the left lane for the airport. I ended up on another totaly unfamiliar road with no place to turn around. The GPS simply said "recalculating" and I decided on this occasion to trust it. After a very circuitous route on small lanes behind a Pub and through tree lined roads, I eventually emerged into the daylight right at the airport car park. I was quite impressed with the GPS on that day!